Artist Ballagh sues three HSE workers over his wife's death

08/08/2008 Artist Bobby (Robert) Ballagh speaking to members and friends of the Karen ethnic minority people. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the massacre of peaceful protestors in Burma on 8 August 1988 who were demanding an end to military rule and the establishment of a democratic government at the GPO, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Kevin Doyle

ARTIST Robert Ballagh is suing three members of staff at a Dublin hospital over his wife's death.

The 68-year-old launched legal proceedings because he says "key questions" about Betty Ballagh's death have gone answered.

Mrs Ballagh died two years after being initially admitted to Beaumont Hospital's A&E with a stomach complaint, in February 2011.

She was discharged after a week but two weeks later, she was admitted to St Joseph's Hospital, Raheny – ahead of surgery in Beaumont. She died that night at St Joseph's in a hospital bathroom.

Mr Ballagh previously described the struggle to get Betty admitted through the A&E department in Beaumont, after she became unwell. Betty was left for over 16 hours on a chair in 'considerable discomfort' before she progressed to a trolley.

She was moved to St Patrick's ward in Beaumont which he described as a holding ward "designed to massage the trolley figures".

"How have we ended up with a health system that treats people so badly?" he asked.

Mr Ballagh has spoken out about her passing, saying that the family need to know more and "key questions" must be answered.

Beaumont Hospital has since given Mr Ballagh a report into his wife's death. However, the artist has lodged a medical negligence case with the High Court.

Three members of staff are named in documents lodged with the court but neither Beaumont Hospital nor the HSE are listed as defendants.

Mr Ballagh told a Sunday newspaper that he felt "an obligation to pursue" the case.

Beaumont Hospital is unable to comment on individual cases, it said.